Troubled; An Anarchist Primer on the Occupation of the North of Ireland

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alasdairelmwood
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Oct 15 2012 23:26
Troubled; An Anarchist Primer on the Occupation of the North of Ireland

An essay by Alasdair Elmwood detailing a brief history of what is commonly referred to as 'the troubles' and an subsequent anti-state analysis and call to action. Emphasis on readers from the British mainland to learn from the experiences of activists in the North of Ireland.

http://zinelibrary.info/troubled-anarchist-primer-occupation-north-ireland

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revol68
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Oct 16 2012 11:45

Sinn Fein were for a socialist republic, the IRA were fighting for a socialist republic? What utter dross.

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georgestapleton
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Oct 16 2012 12:04

Yeah from a quick glance this seems totally bizarre. Who wrote it?

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revol68
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Oct 16 2012 12:13

Some numpty. Love how it skips from a ridiculously crude depiction of the plantation straight to the war of independance, leaving out the small matter of the united irishmen rising and therefore being able to present the whole history as one of protestant colonialisation.

The fact the clown thinks hes educating folk in britain about anything is hilarious.

omen
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Oct 16 2012 12:31
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah from a quick glance this seems totally bizarre. Who wrote it?
alasdairelmwood wrote:
An essay by Alasdair Elmwood[...]

roll eyes

Also, what revol said.

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Steven.
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Oct 16 2012 13:03

Jesus what an appalling pamphlet

omen
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Oct 16 2012 13:32

Also posted on Indymedia UK at around the same time. Didn't go down well there, either...

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georgestapleton
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Oct 16 2012 13:32
omen wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah from a quick glance this seems totally bizarre. Who wrote it?
alasdairelmwood wrote:
An essay by Alasdair Elmwood[...]

roll eyes

Oh Alasdair.... of course!!!

I can read.

I meant whose Alasdair Elmwood? Google gives nothing but the pamphlet and the pamphlet doesn't say who produced it apart from the the name "Alasdair Elmwood".

But yeah cheers for the help. roll eyes

omen
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Oct 16 2012 13:37
georgestapleton wrote:
I meant whose Alasdair Elmwood?

I was just teasing! But I'll refer you to revol's post for a more illuminating answer:

revol68 wrote:
Some numpty.

wink

To answer your question: I don't think anyone knows. Possibly not even Alasdair Elmwood. Maybe a pseudonym, anyway. Best guess: some bloke posting shit on the Internet.

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Steven.
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Oct 16 2012 13:38

That said, it would be good to have an introductory text on the subject which was actually decent…

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georgestapleton
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Oct 16 2012 13:57
Steven. wrote:
That said, it would be good to have an introductory text on the subject which was actually decent…

Indeed.

A big problem though is that the history of the troubles is not only complicated but can be broken up into very different sections.

68-72: NICRA up to Bloody Sunday

72-75: Bloody Sunday up to failure of Sunningdale

75-81: Sunningdale to Hunger Strikes

81-98: Hungerstrikes to Good Friday

98-12: Good Friday to today

Now while the last three periods would be relatively easy to write, (war is bad mmmkay), the first earlier periods would be where I'd find it hard. Or rather tying in all the periods together would be hard.

alasdairelmwood
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Oct 16 2012 15:00

Thanks for reading through it and it's the first pamphlet I've ever made. To go through some points in turn: the Provisionals evolved out of the explicitly socialist Original IRA in the late 1960s and embraced a variety of socialist ideals, ethos and goals that you can research for yourself all the way up to the mid 1980s. In a sense, these have been carried forward by the modern Sinn Fein political party that espouses some form of left-wing politics on economic issues that one would find akin to RESPECT or the SSP. The original heritage stems from Collony and the other authors of the 1916 proclamation which I'm also sure you can read yourself.

Indeed, the pamphlet is short and skips over many glaring and important instances in modern Irish history. Still, it is a 12 page pamphlet that aims to offer a contemporary anarchist critique and analysis. I think that holds true throughout the pamphlet with the key arguements being that of the impressive show of force displayed by the British State, the armed response that countered this for some thirty years and the continued occupation reflected in ongoing discrimination and some of the worse poverty levels for Western Europe.

I'm sure there is plenty in it that British people can learn from. Some facts on inequality may stand out but beyond that I would hope people would take note of the policing tactics using throughout the Troubles and how those seem to be in the process of steady adoption here in the British mainland. Equally, the levels of State violence may also stand out which is highlighted at the beginning of the pamphlet.

I suppose the overall aim isn't to educate people supposedly on *this* forum, of which I've read enough in the last few years, but rather to offer a simple, concise anti-State understanding of the ongoing conflict in the North of Ireland. Beyond that there's an aim for people to read this, witness the connections to policing on the British mainland and do further research. I should have added it but Earth First do a guide to public order scenarios that match a lot of tactics used in the North of Ireland.

Now on the British mainland it strikes me as painfully obvious that people seem (a) blissfully unaware of the murder carried out in their name on their back doorstep but also (b) unable to cope with public order situations. In the North you soon pick up responses to these two points or you recede into apathy and moderacy.

It appears some peoples' comments display a lack of understanding of the pamphlet so please, go ahead and read it and make your own judgments.

In solidarity and, again, thanks for the comments.

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Oct 16 2012 15:27

Ok. In before revol68 says something. But fair play to you for trying to address what is a pretty tricky issue. But this is a very complex situation and I think you really need to look at it again.

revol68 is from NI, as is omen (I think) I'm from Dublin and all of us would have a lot of contact with Irish republicanism and have thought about and debated the situation in the North, both presently and historically, quite a lot.

And to put a blunt edge on this - although I have only skim read it, the pamphlet seems very wrong about a lot of things.

The big point is that regardless of whether the situation in Northern Ireland in the 70s/80s can be described as British imperialism or not (something I think revol and I would disagree on), Northern Ireland is not a topic that you can address by considering it solely as a struggle between anti-imperialists and imperialists. That isn't what happened. A massive, perhaps the dominant, aspect of the struggle in the North was an internecine war between two sections of the Northern working class based on ethno-religious identity and the quest to create a nation state based on that identity to the exclusion of the other identity. (In very crude terms, 1 million catholic workers vs 1 million protestant workers.) That very messy aspect of the struggle is something you have to address and simply saying that unionists are 'bought off' or can be disregarded because the identify with the British state is nowhere near enough.

If you go rooting the archives of this site you'll find some debates on this issue. Or if you go and look at the work of the WSM or Organise! the two main anarchist groups in Ireland you'll find stuff there as well. I'd recommend you do that.

omen
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Oct 16 2012 16:33
georgestapleton wrote:
revol68 is from NI, as is omen (I think)

No, I just have a big mouth. Perhaps you are confusing me with Eamonn?

(Wouldn't mind seeing a decent anarchist take on this subject, though. Something introductory, brief, and not mental.)

Angelus Novus
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Oct 16 2012 17:11

Question for y'all: is this book worth checking out?

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Entdinglichung
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Oct 16 2012 17:13
Angelus Novus wrote:
Question for y'all: is this book worth checking out?

a good one, read it a few months ago

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Oct 16 2012 17:30

Georgestapleton, you think imperialism is a good term for understanding the uks role in northern ireland in the 70's and 80's? By what meaningful definition of imperialism, as opposed to the empty sloganeering way it is bandied about by so many on the "left", does the reality meet that criteria? Economic exploitation of raw materials, cheap labour? Or a massive drain on the UK economy that they are stuck with due to the presence of a million people who still define themselves as british no matter how little the british government could care for them? The presence of the british state in the norrh is a lefacy of colonialism and ironically the non imperialist relations between the north east and the rest of the UK at the turn of the 20th century.

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Oct 16 2012 17:36
Angelus Novus wrote:
Question for y'all: is this book worth checking out?

If you want a romanticised notion of the IRA and its "revolutionary" past/potential, going on hearing him discuss republicanism in person. The repiblican socialist tradition is fundamentally reactionary in that socialism is defined as the true realisation of the irish nation rather than its destruction.

Anti Eire!

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klas batalo
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Oct 16 2012 18:06

Just want to point out that when this was posted to @News, it was intruduced like this:

Quote:
An essay by Alasdair Elmwood detailing a brief history of what is commonly referred to as 'the troubles' and a subsequent anti-state analysis and call to action. Emphasis on readers from the British mainland to learn from the experiences of activists in the North of Ireland.

Zine library download link

Marxists probably getting annoyed

I question if the authors are really in solidarity, seemed like they wanted to pick a fight.

freemind
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Oct 16 2012 18:22

While I agree that the text has many flaws it can be excused on the grounds that all too often Anarchists have consistently failed to produce a cogent synthesis on Ireland.
On too many occasions on a personal level I witnessed comrades being dismissive or refusing to acknowledge the particular relovence to Anarchists of the State's modes operandi in the occupied 6 counties.
This attitude was a glaring oversight on an issue which gave Libertarians a close insight into the brutal State oppression of the anti-Unionist working class.
This was a war in which religious/sectarian fault lines were deliberately extenuated in order to copperfasten Imperialist rule going back 800 years!
Every facet of unbridled State oppression was utilised in order to intimidate and destroy any resistance to the 6 county state whether by State/Loyalist death squads,Internment without trial,pogroms,gerrymandering,torture,racism and more.
That so many Anarchists were dismissive and refused to learn because all they saw was "just Nationalism" shows a myopic and ignorant attitude that betrays flaws in their own ideological theory.

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Oct 16 2012 18:30
freemind wrote:
While I agree that the text has many flaws it can be excused on the grounds that all too often Anarchists have consistently failed to produce a cogent synthesis on Ireland.
On too many occasions on a personal level I witnessed comrades being dismissive or refusing to acknowledge the particular relovence to Anarchists of the State's modes operandi in the occupied 6 counties.
This attitude was a glaring oversight on an issue which gave Libertarians a close insight into the brutal State oppression of the anti-Unionist working class.
This was a war in which religious/sectarian fault lines were deliberately extenuated in order to copperfasten Imperialist rule going back 800 years!
Every facet of unbridled State oppression was utilised in order to intimidate and destroy any resistance to the 6 county state whether by State/Loyalist death squads,Internment without trial,pogroms,gerrymandering,torture,racism and more.
That so many Anarchists were dismissive and refused to learn because all they saw was "just Nationalism" shows a myopic and ignorant attitude that betrays flaws in their own ideological theory.

Maybe failed to produce one which supports the Irish Republican sympathies that the rest of your post betrays, thats not the same as not being clear.

freemind
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Oct 16 2012 18:42

That statement shows your lack of knowledge and total ignorance onthe subject.That you can make a snap judgement because a couple of phrases are also used by Republicans merely shows the malaise that yourself and sadly some Anarchists labour under!
The DAM produced a belated document on Ireland that in my view was an excellent Anarchist analysis of the Irish war,it also used terminology like "anti-unionist,partition,6counties.." That does not mean that the DAM was pro-Republican or supported the IRA!
If you can't understand that then clarity and education is something you are in need of!

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Oct 16 2012 18:59
freemind wrote:
That statement shows your lack of knowledge and total ignorance onthe subject.That you can make a snap judgement because a couple of phrases are also used by Republicans merely shows the malaise that yourself and sadly some Anarchists labour under!
The DAM produced a belated document on Ireland that in my view was an excellent Anarchist analysis of the Irish war,it also used terminology like "anti-unionist,partition,6counties.." That does not mean that the DAM was pro-Republican or supported the IRA!
If you can't understand that then clarity and education is something you are in need of!

Do you know where I live?
Anarchists in 'the occupied 6 counties' have consistently espoused a VERY clear internationalist and more importantly antinationalist line, in a place where such ideas have very, very little currency and over the years, for their troubles, have been threatened by loyalists and the representatives of the 'anti-unionist working class' alike.
Our analysis may not suit your reading of events, but to say its not clear is dishonest.

freemind
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Oct 16 2012 18:54

All the more reason to stop making snap judgements and come up with an Anarchist analysis.!

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Oct 16 2012 19:04

I wouldnt bother with someone who calls themselves freemind, I dont think us sheeple would ever be able to win round such a free thinker.

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Oct 16 2012 19:09

And yes there has been enough said about the the national question on this site and others. It does seem that what some people actually want is a new revisionist anti imperialist analysis to take into account the shinners now in power sharing and the lumpen rump that constitutes the dissidents.

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revol68
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Oct 16 2012 19:13
freemind wrote:
All the more reason to stop making snap judgements and come up with an Anarchist analysis.!

Snap judgements? Where exactly has anyone made snap judgements? Do you think maybe the majority of responses to thus joke of a pamphlet might actually have came from irish posters both north and south and from both unionist and nationalist backgrounds and as such are anything but snap, y'know since they might have considerable experience discussing this issue and also having their ear much closer to the ground.

omen
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Oct 16 2012 19:14

*sigh*

One of the "excusable" pamphlet's "many flaws":

That Pamphlet wrote:
Dissident republicans, once allied to Sinn Fein, have combined to create a new IRA in the summer of 2012. The groups involved have assassinated one police officer and two British soldiers in the past few years and have detonated several bombs across the North. They completely reject the peace process and are calling for armed resistance to British rule; be it carried out from London or Belfast.

Resistance does not end with political process.

Um?

[Large text is as in the original.]

freemind
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Oct 16 2012 19:14

Just got the rest of your post which did not come up initially so apologies if my last post was prematurely terse.
I'm sure Anarchists in the 6 counties have espoused a clear internationalist line PartyBucket but my criticism was of English Anarchists specifically.
Your analysis is not the problem-the problem is with the complacency and lack of knowledge I have encountered from English Anarchists during my activism which I found disappointing to say the least.
With respect and if I'm wrong. I apologise I sense that you have taken my initial statement personally.I would never be so arrogant as to condescend or dictate to comrades who actually live in Ireland-I respect them too much!
However by the same token I would expect a comrade to understand that my position stated was not pro-Republican.My statement was a few paragraphs long so any judgement would surely be best left until a few posts later,in order to form a more comprehensive view.

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Oct 16 2012 19:22

Your post used all the jargon of crappy anti imperialism, something pretty big in the 80s obviously but just seems quaint now especially to anarchists from the north who have had a sickener of it from the english "left" for years.

freemind
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Oct 16 2012 19:23

Rev ol68!
The snap judgement is on myself being accused of an Irish republican viewpoint not any defence of the pamphlet.OMEN-stop the cheap insinuation and twisting of words!The term "excusable" was used to emphasise the recognition that at least someone has tried to address the issue-SIGH!